Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

See other formats


194                                        THE KIMBJteAK VAJSHHAT^S,

Tenkalai, on the contrary, maintain the irresistibility of divine grace and the
utter helplessness of the soul, till it is seised and carried off like a kitten by its
mother from the danger that threatens ii From these two curious but apt
Illustrations the one doctrine is known as the mar&ata M^hora-nydyay the other a®
the mdrjala-kuJiora-wj/dya ; that is to say < the young monkey theory/ or ' the
kitten theory.' The habitues of the Seth's. temple are all of the Tenkalai persua-
sion.
The Nimbarak Vaishnavas, as mentioned in a previous chapter, have one
of their oldest shrines on the Dhrava hill at Mathura.   Literally interpreted, the
•word Nimbarak means { the sun in a mm tree ;? a curious designation, which is
explained as follows.   The founder of the sect, an ascetic by name Bhaskara-
cMrya, had invited a Bairagi to dine with him and had prepared everything
for his reception, but unfortunately delayed to go and fetch his gnest till after sun-
set.   Now, the holy man was forbidden by the rales of his order to eat except in
the day-time and was greatly afraid that he would be compelled to practise an
unwilling abstinence : but at the solicitation of his host, the sun-god, Suraj
N&r&yah, descended upon the mm tree, under which the repast was spread, and
continued beaming upon them till the claims of hunger were fully satisfied.
Thenceforth the saint was known by the name of Nimbarka or Nimb&ditya.
His special tenets are little known ; for, unlike the other Sampradayas, Ms
followers (so far as can be ascertained) have no special literature of their own,
either in Sanskrit or Hindi ; a fact which they ordinarily explain byjaying that ail
their books were burnt by Auraugzeb, the conventional Mte noire of Indian
history, who is made responsible for every act of destruction.    Most of the
solitary ascetics who have their little hermitages in the different sacred groves,
with which the district abounds, belong to the liimbarak persuasion* Many of
them are pious, simple-minded men, leading such a chaste and studious life,
that it may charitably be hoped of them that iu ihe eye of God iihey are
Christians by the baptism of desire, t. *», according to S. Thomas Aquinas, by
the grace of having the will to obtain salvation by fulfilling the commands of
God, even though from invincible ignorance iihey know not the true Church.
The one who has a cell in the KoMla-ban assured me that the distinctive doc-
trines of his sect were not absolutely unwritten (as is ordinarily supposed), bofe
are comprised in ten Sanskrit couplets that form the basis of a commentary in
as many thousands.   One of Ms disciples^ a very intelligent and argumentative
theological student^ gave me a sketch of Ms. belief wMch may be here quoted
as & proof that Hie esoteric doctrines of the Vaishnavas generally have little in
common with. the gross idolatry which the Christian Missionary is too often